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🛍️ What is Shein?

The Hustle

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, wait, it’s Superman flying away with $2.6m in cold hard cash. Last week, a rare 1939 Superman comic book was sold in an auction for the wild sum. The seller, Mark Michaelson – who paid for college by trading comic books – bought the copy in 1979.

Today’s rundown:

  • Shein: How the Chinese online retailer reinvented fast fashion.
  • Hefty bill: What’s behind Elon’s taxes?
  • Founder’s Wallet: How an ad entrepreneur spends his money.
  • Around the web: Quantum pendants, 5 tips to become a better manager, and more wild internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Shein bag

In the world of fast fashion, Shein is literally built different

There’s fast fashion, then there’s Shein.

If you haven’t heard of the Chinese online retailer — here are some fast facts:

  • In 2020, Shein pulled in $10B in annual revenue, up 250% YoY
  • In June, Shein made up 28% of all fast-fashion sales in the US
  • The company has reportedly been valued as high as ~$47B

When analysts look for comparisons for Shein, they often look to fast-fashion players like Zara and H&M, but according to Rest of World, they should be looking at Amazon.

While other fast-fashion players replicate runway trends…

… Shein’s platform is built to take advantage of the social media hype cycle. To do so, like Amazon, Shein uses a combination of software and a massive supplier network.

It all starts with Shein’s marketplace, which includes ~6k Chinese factories that grew loyal to Shein because the company actually pays them on time, a rarity in Chinese manufacturing.

This allows Shein to be more demanding than other retailers. While Zara’s orders typically include a 2k minimum delivered in 30 days, Shein can ask suppliers for as little as 100 products in 10 days.

Smaller orders and tighter delivery windows allow Shein to test styles quickly and see what’s selling — resulting in a wider, more fluid inventory than its competitors. Case in point:

  • Between July and December, Shein added between 2k-10k new styles to its app per day
  • Recent analysis showed 70%+ of Shein’s styles were added in the last 3 months, compared to 53% for Zara, and 40% for H&M

But… fast fashion has serious downsides

Shein’s growth, though impressive, comes at a significant cost. Fast fashion has been criticized for its massive contribution to global waste (we covered the issue previously here), and Shein has been pegged as one of the biggest offenders.

While the company’s operational execution is certainly impressive, it would be even more impressive if they applied that same innovation to making fast fashion more sustainable.

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SNIPPETS

Holiday labor shortage: Retailers are expected to hire 700k seasonal workers for the holidays, a 7.5% drop from last year. #ecommerce-retail

NFTs on the ’gram: Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri admitted the company is reportedly in the early stages of exploring NFTs, and how to incorporate the technology into its platform. #emerging-tech

Off the record: The SEC fined JPMorgan Chase $125m for allowing its employees to use WhatsApp and other smartphone apps when to conduct official business. #privacy

Staking unicorn: Figment, a cryptocurrency staking firm, raised $110m at a $1.4B valuation. #fintech-crypto

Apple glasses coming soon: Analysts reported that Apple’s AR/VR headset is currently on track to launch in Q4 2022. #big-tech

MFM: Hassan Minhaj shares a tip anyone can use to be funnier. #mfm

Chart
Musk taxes infographic

Visual: Singdhi Sokpo

What’s behind Musk’s hefty tax bill?

This year, me (Jacob) and Elon Musk will be paying a combined $11B+ in taxes.

Musk has a net worth of ~$243B, nearly all of it tied up in ownership of Tesla and SpaceX.

The reasoning for the hefty bill is as follows:

  • Musk is paid through stock options, which give him the right to buy Tesla shares at the price on the date of issue (in this case, back in 2012).
  • These options are set to expire next August, so Musk has started exercising them — at a tax rate of 40.8%.
  • Musk will also pay long-term 20% capital gains tax on other stock sales.

All told, it’s gonna be one hefty payment.

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Founder’s Wallet
monthly expenses

How one advertising entrepreneur spends his startup’s money in a month

We’re launching a new series that dives into the wallets of founders to see how they manage money. First up to hand over his bank statements is Andrew Curtin, founder of employer branding agency Chronicmedia.

After finding a niche in B2B branding, Curtin is riding the great resignation wave and helping employers attract and retain talent through engaging content. And he has lofty goals: He aims to turn Chronicmedia into a $16m company in the next 2 years.

How He Spends It

  • Contractor fees — $4,479: Payments for all freelance staff
  • Personal salary — $2,527: Payroll ($1,330) + dividends ($1,197 paid out from the business)
  • Subscriptions — $149: Adobe Creative Cloud, WordPress, Google Cloud
  • Creative services — $476: Fiverr, accounting, consulting
  • Marketing — $266: Curtin has taken the plunge into personal branding for himself — he hired a videographer to produce content for his LinkedIn and a web developer to create a landing page for a forthcoming newsletter
  • Rent — $904: A coworking space where Curtin has a private office
  • Food and drink — $621: Meals during the workday for Curtin and any consultants/contractors present

Monthly grand total: $9,423

Curtin also let us in on how much cash he keeps on hand for himself and his business, his past and projected revenue, and his long-term goals for Chronicmedia.

To read the full story, click here.

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TRENDS

Three steps to a million-dollar app…

In this week’s Business Idea Breakdown, the Trends team walks members through how to validate, build, and monetize a million-dollar app idea.

When you read through the report, you’ll learn:

  • Tips and tools for conducting market research and making sure your idea is worth building 📈
  • How to determine whether you should outsource development of your app, and how to get started 👩‍💻
  • The 4 key components to monetization (according to a16z’s Andrew Chen) 💸
  • And much, much more.

To read the full report (and get access to thousands of business ideas you can build in a weekend), try one week of Trends for just $1.

Get Access →
AROUND THE WEB

😎 On this day: In 2012, Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became the 1st video on YouTube to reach 1B views.

🧑‍💼How to: Here are 5 tips on how to be a better manager for your team.

🧑‍⚕️ Haha: People often say something that’s easy isn’t “brain surgery” or “rocket science,” but this study aims to determine which phrase is the most appropriate. It turns out it depends on the situation.

⏳ Useful: Dot Focus is a productivity tool that lets you set timers, write to-do lists, take notes, and listen to ambient music and sounds.

😧 Wait, what: A “quantum pendant” claimed it would offer protection from 5G cellphone towers. Unfortunately, those pendants were found to be radioactive.

🥺 And now: Please enjoy this extremely cute compilation of Japanese flying squirrels.

meme of the day
fashion meme

Nailed it. (Source: Bored Panda)

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Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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